Culture & Music

The varied everyday culture of Malians reflects the country’s ethnic and geographic diversity. Most Malians wear flowing, colorful robes called boubous that are typical of West Africa.

Malians frequently participate in traditional festivals, dances, and ceremonies.


Malian musical traditions are derived from the griots known as “Keepers of Memories”. Malian music is diverse and has several different genres.

Some famous Malian influences in music are kora virtuoso musician Toumani Diabaté, the ngoni with Bassekou Kouyate the virtuoso of the electric jeli ngoni, the late roots and blues guitarist Ali Farka Toure, the Tuareg band Tinariwen, and several Afro-pop artists such as Salif Keita, the duo Amadou et Mariam, Oumou Sangare, Rokia Traore, and Habib Koité. Dance also plays a large role in Malian culture.

Dance parties are common events among friends, and traditional mask dances are performed at ceremonial events.